Study puts cost per case of domestic abuse at €116,000

Study puts cost per case of domestic abuse at €116,000
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The economic cost of domestic violence on an individualised basis has been put at almost €116,000 in a study that followed the journey of 50 women from abuse to recovery.

“What this research is telling us is that women are being forced into poverty and economic dependence on the State,” said Safe Ireland’s Caitriona Gleeson.

The study was conducted by NUI Galway and Safe Ireland with the support of The Community Foundation of Ireland.

It shows that the total average cost of domestic violence is €115,790 across three distinct phases: the abusive relationship, sanctuary, and relocation and recovery.

There are the direct costs of providing services to treat and support abused women and their children and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

But then there are the indirect and often invisible costs, such as lost employment and productivity.

In this country, an often-cited figure on the economic costs of domestic violence is €2.2bn annually, or €555 for every man, woman, and child living here.

Low income and low levels of productivity are emerging as the largest economic costs being incurred.

Some participants in the study were prevented from working while others had to cease work because of illness or injury.

Safe Ireland, which presented its pre-budget submission to the Government, believes the study adds weight to the argument that addressing domestic violence is not only a moral imperative, it makes sound economic sense.

Over the last six years, Safe Ireland has called for an increase of €30m in Government expenditure to address the prevalence of domestic violence and coercive control in this country.

However, it is concerned that Budget 2020 will again fall far short of what is needed to provide a minimum standard of service response to those seeking protection from violent partners.

Safe Ireland is also concerned that gardaí are not sufficiently trained and that there are not enough trained officers to properly investigate coercive control.

It points out that, based on successful models in Scotland, there is clear evidence that a well-designed, resourced, and co-ordinated training programme can result in at least 70% of gardaí being trained within 12 months.

Safe Ireland estimates that it will cost €10m to provide the programme next year, including cover for gardaí released for training.

The national agency wants €5.5m to be spent on increasing the number of judges appointed to hear domestic violence cases and wants the implementation of training programmes for court staff, including judges.

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